Cornerstone Community Centre,
Wednesday 4 October
I really enjoyed talking about my book to the audience at the StressBusters 6th
Birthday Party. I had a great response and some interesting questions about my
ideas on breaking free of insomnia. I’m looking forward to giving more talks
Diary of An Ex-Insomniac
Our special guest this evening was Nicki Gillard, author of the honest, insightful and humorous memoir ‘Diary of an Ex-Insomniac: Introducing the Insomnia Ditch-and-Switch’. In the engaging and honest talk, Nicki shared with us her years of struggle with insomnia and the ex-insomniac mind-set she eventually developed (the ‘Ditch-and-Switch’ method).
Just like we don’t really make ourselves breathe, we also don’t need to make ourselves sleep (or get to sleep, which is another linguistic trap that implies action on our part). Sleep is a natural bodily function and our body will do it when it’s ready. We can decide that we want to rest and that’s absolutely fine – whether or not this ends in sleep is beside the point…. we’ll sleep when we’re ready and stressing about it certainly won’t help! It all really comes down to labeling problems and ‘trying’ to do something instead of just letting the nature take its course. If we get into the insomniac mind-set, we perpetuate the vicious circle. This applies not just to sleep problems, but stress and life in general!
During the talk we also touched on several myths about sleep, including whether or not it’s necessary to sleep for a certain number of hours or whether we need to have uninterrupted sleep at all, instead of sleeping in blocks. Whatever our natural sleep pattern is like, we need to accept it and go with the flow – instead of lying in the dark and stressing about not being able to sleep, we might as well do something we enjoy, whether it’s lying in the dark and simply resting, or switching the light on and reading our favourite book. Just stop trying to sleep – it simply won’t work!
Following the publication of her book, Nicki is now dedicating her time to helping others find a way out of the insomniac mind-set. She has started running regular drop-in sessions in Rottingdean, to hear about people’s experiences of insomnia and stress, and to suggest how her approach might help – contact her for more information.